The tourism sector plays a significant role in the economic development of any country. Saudi Arabia is a unique tourism destination especially for the Muslim world. This is more so because the country holds the site of pilgrimage for the Muslims, unique Islamic attributes, as well as special traditions (SCTA 2012).
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In the recent past, the Saudi Arabian government has made several plans to open up the country to visitors, but in a manner that significantly emphasizes the country’s character, customs as well as traditions. The Saudi Arabian government, the country’s tourism authority, as well as all major stakeholders in the Saudi Arabian tourism industry, have continuously focussed on quality and standards strategy, and action plan to promote the Saudi Arabia’s tourism prospects.
The foundation for a more vibrant Saudi Arabian tourism has been underway for the last decade, and these efforts have recently started bearing fruits. This paper shall review the prospects of Saudi Arabian tourism sector and examine how to make domestic tourism in Saudi Arabia less expensive.
By 2008, major plans had been underway for the opening up of Saudi Arabia for both local and foreign visitors. This was through the establishment of quality cultural and historical centre, women-only hotel and spas, as well as leisure and lifestyle resorts in major visitor attraction destinations within the country such as the country’s Red Sea coast.
It is without doubt that Saudi Arabia is one of the largest tourism destination and market in the Middle East, with regard to the number of visitors alone. Being the home to the two most important Muslim holy mosques, Saudi Arabia appeals to many people. According to the Oxford Business Group (2008, p.118), Saudi Arabia had 13.5 million visitors with those performing pilgrimages accounting for 51%.
In the past couple of decades, tourists have visited Saudi Arabia majorly for religious or pilgrimage and cultural reasons. However, those tourists visiting for purely leisure and shopping reasons have remained significantly few (Scott & Jafari 2010, p. 257). Cordesman (2003, p. 340) notes that in 2000, the government of Saudi Arabia created a supreme commission for tourism, mandated with the task of surveying all the tourism activities in Saudi Arabia by region.
As such, the current Saudi Arabian tourism policy aimed at opening other tourism destinations within Saudi Arabia, which have remained idle and unexplored. The current strategy aims at supporting tourism and Saudi Arabian heritage, enhancing the cultural dimension of the Saudi tourism sector, and promoting both domestic and foreign tourism (Cordesman 2003, p. 340).
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to review the prospects of Saudi Arabian tourism sector and examine how to make domestic tourism in Saudi Arabia less expensive. The result of this study shall add on to existing literature, which can be used by the Saudi Arabian government, the private sector, as well as other stakeholders in the tourism sector and other related fields.
What are the prospects of Saudi Arabian tourism sector and how to make domestic tourism in Saudi Arabia less expensive?
Scope of the study
The study shall analyze data coming from the Saudi Arabian government, ministry in charge of tourism, supreme commission for tourism, tourism service providers, as well as other stakeholders in the tourism sector within Saudi Arabia. To limit the scope of analysis and to keep things comparable, stakeholders in the tourism sector whose primary business lies within tourism service provision shall all be included.
Relevance of the study
The tourism sector plays an important role in economic development of Saudi Arabia. As such, it is relevant and significant to review the prospects of Saudi Arabian tourism sector and how to make domestic tourism in Saudi Arabia less expensive.
In order to obtain the necessary information for the study, both primary and secondary research shall be undertaken. To substantiate existing literature, data from samples shall also be gathered using surveys and questionnaires, which shall be given at random to existing tourism stakeholders. The manners through which the surveys shall be conducted are expounded below.
The sampling design
Random sampling shall be employed to get a sample group to answer the questionnaire for the study.
Data collection methods
Both primary and secondary research collection methods shall be utilized to gather information that will help bare out the objectives of the study. Previous studies related to the topic shall be analyzed to see their relevance to the topic as well as to supplement the findings gathered from primary research.
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Cordesman, A H 2003, Saudi Arabia Enters the 21st Century: The Political, Foreign Policy, Economic, and Energy Dimensions, Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport.
Oxford Business Group, 2008, The Report: Saudi Arabia 2008, Oxford Business Group Publishing, London.
Scott, N & Jafari, J 2010, Tourism in the Muslim World, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley.
SCTA, 2012, Saudi Arabia: Experience to Discover. Web.